The Gambia in the Rhythm of the Fulani Culture


The Gambian Fulbe youth organization known as Fulbe Africa has been organizing, since 2012, a yearly Fulbe Cultural Festival, to showcase Fulbe culture, music, dance, and traditional clothing. It all began on Facebook when some Fulani youth who have become Facebook friends decided to create a group named Fulbe Africa. The main focus of the group was to promote the Fulbe Culture and the Pulaar/Fulfulde language. This initiative was motivated by the apprehension of these young men and women that their language Pulaar/fulfulde and culture are facing an existential threat, especially in the urban centers where many Fulbe families speak the dominant language in the city of their dwelling, and the youths are being more and more influenced by the western culture. Some don’t even know how to speak the language of their parents or speak it very poorly.

After several months of discussion, they decided to materialize their ideas by organizing a cultural festival where they will showcase the rich and diverse cultures of the Fulbe. This year (December 2022) marks the 10th anniversary of such events.

From its beginning, the Festival has been seeing large participation of Fulbe from all West African countries and the diaspora. Besides the cultural displays, the festival has always been rocked by concerts of the most renowned Fulbe musicians such as Baaba Sadou of Cameroon, Hawa Pullo Gombe of Nigeria, Kadia Kande, and Ndongo Dara of Fouladou, Senegal, to name but a few. This year the main guest musician was Baaba Baydi Maal, the world-renowned Fulani musician whose melodious voice was the inro to the Black Panther movie which was a global sensation and cultural phenomenon after its release in 2018. The Senegalese superstar was playing just 24 hours before in Thilogne, a Fulani town in northern Senegal, where he participated in another Festival to celebrate Fulbe Culture.

The audience was also delighted with the Performance of the traditional Fulbe historian and orator Bokar Hamadi Farana from Mali, and many traditional dancers, singers, and music players. Ballet dance and theatrical sketches.

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